There exists a very large literature suggesting that T cells come in a variety of species and that without the action of Tregs tumors would seldom survive inhibition by T cell effectors. We believe that much of the evidence supporting the role of Tregs in cancer is compatible with a perhaps simpler hypothesis based upon the demonstration that that small quantities of effector T cells tend to stimulate tumors while larger quantities of seemingly the same cells are inhibitory (an hormesis-like effect). This possibility seems to destroy much of the need to postulate a role for T cell suppressors (Tregs) in cancer, but the exposure of effector T cells to antigen may convert them into Tregs (Tregs do exist). Furthermore, many other data suggest the possibility that immune inhibition of cancer could be a laboratory artifact seldom if ever seen in unmodified nature.
JournaltitleTheoretical Biology & Medical Modelling